Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Getting Ready for Lessons

For many of you, lessons have already started and but some of us, we have a couple of weeks left of summer.  My lessons start at the beginning of September so I am in the midst of completing my planning, putting together binders, cleaning, reorganizing and decorating the studio, preparing my incentive program and getting all the paperwork done!  I thought I would share how I go about this process in case some of it may help you!

When I close out the end of regular lessons in June, there are a few things I take care of then.  I collect each student's annual enrollment fee (this fee covers the cost of music, the incentive program, recitals, awards, etc.), collect students' 3-ring practice binders,  re-register students for the fall and have parents complete a simple form stating their top 3 time slots requests for use when I put together the studio lesson schedule for the new year.   This is also the time I let parents know changes in tuition costs.  I do all of this on the last lesson before summer when I do student evaluations with the parent and student together.

In August (after my summer program is over), I put together the lesson schedule (sometimes easy, sometimes a bit challenging!) & complete the studio calendar for the upcoming year.  My calendar tells parents when lessons start, when tuition is due, each of the group lessons I offer, recital dates, dates for student evaluations and dates for the summer program.  This calendar is sent to the parents by email while also highlighting some of the dates and confirming the lessons slot time/day for their child.

This is also the time that I re-evaluate all of my forms (safety form, photo release form, studio policy, etc.) and make any adjustments.  If there are adjustments, parents are emailed the form explaining the adjustments and asking them to sign them and return them by mail or bring them to the first lesson.  I also have extras on hand for them to sign when they come to the first lesson in case they forget.

I work on the new practice incentive program for months (planning, working through ideas, etc.) but it isn't until August that I physically put it together so right now I'm completing that.  Each of my students is given a 3-ring binder and each year I adjust it to work with the incentive and the plan I have for the year.  I always decorate the studio to match the incentive since I put together a full plan for the year.   The incentive, the group lessons, the recitals and camps all tie together.  It's a lot of work, but parents, students and I love every bit of it!

This year I elected to again start the year with a group lesson and then start individual lessons the following week.  This first group lesson allows me to introduce new students, reveal the much anticipated incentive program, and do some fun activities together.  My students LOVE group lessons so the more I offer, the happier they are!

That's about it!  I hope this gives you ideas!  I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas as well!


Saundra said...

Do you put your groups together by age? Even at the first group of the year. It all come together?

Sheryl said...

Good question Saundra! For this first one, we will all be together. The students who attend this group lesson are ages 5-16. I will mainly explain the new incentive, introduce new students and then do some group activities. While I have all my students come to group lessons together, I will often put together "stations" and group them together by level to work on a project or do theory games. I have AMAZING, kind students and the older kids are always helpful with the younger ones. The key with this size group is planning and to keep things moving - NO down time. It works well and my students ask for more of them!

Shelly Hainline said...

Sheryl, how often do you have group lessons?